Destination Run: Saarburg, Germany
Finding little villages to explore can make for exciting adventures especially when the town is not famously known as a hot tourist destination. When you think of Germany probably Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, or perhaps Cologne may be your first thoughts, instinctively, of lively places to visit. But in the western portion of Germany rests the quaint village of Saarburg host to many diverse and intriguing points. Saarburg is one of among many, in the region known for cultivating Riesling grapes. It is also home to a bell foundry that is the only one left making bronze bells within Germany.
With a central city waterfall that meets with the Saar River and several restaurants and terraces to admire the views to a ruined castle, the most fun can be found after taking a ski chair lift where at the top you can enjoy 2€ flume rides. Within the Trier-Saarburg district in the Rhineland-Palatinate state, Saarburg is a cute place to get a small run in and also, just a 20-minute drive away to Kastel-Staadt, where you can take a hiking trail that will lead you to a surprisingly large and beautiful natural sandstone called Altfeltsen (Naturdenkmal). Sometimes the real travel gems are not where you would expect to find them.
Taking in the sights of Saarburg can be done with a city run. (Click here to access the route)
This just under 3 mile/5 kilometer hilly run starts and ends at the Freibad swimming center. There is free parking there and you can end your run with a swim which is also, conveniently, located next to Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken, a winery where you can experience the local specialties. From the parking lot, you will find a walkway up to the street called Heckingstrabe. Follow to the right until you come to a rotary where the tourist information center is located. Take the first right on the rotary past the tourist center and you will come to a small bridge with a viewpoint of the Leukbach River before it cascades into a waterfall towards the Saar River, this section is called, “Little Venice”. Continue straight until your second left onto Kunohof where you will pass the Catholic Church of St. Laurentius.
Take a left onto a small alley of Warsbergerstrabe, passing a few restaurants and over the Leukbach River again. At the main road of Graf-Seigfried-strabe, take a right onto it and then a quick right onto another small alley of Am Markt. Cross back over the Leukbach River once more, where this time you will be on top of the Wasserfall Saarburg (waterfall) before heading back towards the church. You will pass the Amuseum: Art, Culture, and History Museum, which has a Karl Marx exhibit. Continue behind the church to go through a pretty, archway alley where on the left you will get a fantastic view of the waterfall. Follow this road, Staden, until you get to the Saar River. Here you have the opportunity to increase your mileage along the river in either direction before continuing on with the tour. Looking at the river, go left less than a 1/4 mile and turn left. Here you will find the Museum Glockengieberie Mabilon, the bell foundry.
Head back on this road with the museum on your right, running parallel to the Saar River. Take a right on a narrow path going uphill to make your way to the Evangelische Kirche church and behind it the Burgruine Saarburg or Saarburg Castle ruins. Feel free to loop around and climb the steps of the tower before making your way back to the front of the church to see more castle remains before heading down through some shops in town and downhill to another rotary. Go straight through and stay to left on Im Hagen until you get to the Saarburg Sesselbahn which is a ski chair lift that you can pay one way or round trip to get up to the flume ride called Sommerrodelbahn “Saar-Rodel”. It’s only 2 euros a ride and a ton of fun! After the flume ride, you can run or ride the lift back down and head back to the rotary and take the first right. This will get you back to the tourist center and you can head back the same way you originally came to head back to the swimming center.
Park at the parkplatz in front of the St. Johannes Church. Before hitting the trails, take a quick loop around to visit the Romisches Theater and Klause bei Kastel (castle) while admiring the views over the Saar River. Go around behind the church to get an outlook vantage point and view of the Altfels natural sandstone. Now you are ready to tackle the hiking trail which will take you just over 2 and a quarter miles/ 3.7 kilometers with a little under 100 meters change in elevation to reach the Altfels Rock. Once you have reached the rock, you will find it is accessible to climb with good hand-eye coordination using a metal rope attached to the rock and clearly used steps that have seemed to become much narrower over time. Probably not for those with injuries, lack of flexibility, or fear of heights. However, if you decide to venture to the top of the rocks, you will find a spectacular view. Once you have had your fill of nature and adventure, you can retrace your steps back to the car park for a total of 4.5 miles/7.4 kilometers.